A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 1


This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-01-02-0097-0002
2. JA 's source for these passages on the Stuarts' assertions that the American colonies were “without the realm” was apparently the 4th edition of Thomas Pownall, The Administration of the Colonies . . . , London, 1768, p. 48–49. It would seem, however, that JA took certain liberties with his source. As described by Pownall, the incidents occurred thus: “So that when the House of Commons, in those reiterated attempts which they made by passing a bill to get a law enacted for establishing a free right of fishery on the coasts of Virginia, New-England, and Newfoundland, put in the claim of the state to this property, and of the parliament to jurisdiction over it; they were told in the House by the servants of the crown, 'That it was not fit to make laws here for those countries which are not yet annexed to the crown. That this bill was not proper for this house, as it concerneth America.'” Pownall's footnotes state clearly that this view of Parliament's authority referred only to the disputes between Parliament and James I in 1621.
Pownall mentions no dissent by Charles I to a bill passed by both Houses on the fisheries question. Indeed, none was ever made, for all bills to end the fishing monopoly in the New England charters failed to pass in Parliament during the reigns of both James I and Charles I (Charles B. Judah, The North American Fisheries and British Policy to 1713, Urbana, 1933 [Ill. Studies in the Social Sciences, 18, nos. 3–4], p. 50–60; George L. Beer, The Origins of the British Colonial System, 1578–1660, N. Y., 1908, p. 272–275).